It seems like we can’t go a week without hearing news of some sort of scandal involving Donald Trump or his presidential campaign. This week is no exception. Thursday, a federal judge unsealed records involving a massive tax evasion scheme of up to $250 million.
For his part, Trump has not been accused of any wrong doing and he, along with his children are only listed as a material witness. However, attorneys filing the suit say that could change as they go through the evidence.
There are four projects involved in this case and one of them, run by Felix Sate, paid Trump millions of dollars in fees and interest. The project in question was the Trump Soho New York, a high rise in Manhattan. The suit alleges that his son and daughter also received millions from this project and are listed as material witnesses.
The former “Apprentice” star has stated that he only has a passing knowledge of Sater and wouldn’t recognize him if they were in the same room, but there are some doubts about this. For starters, Sater’s investment firm, Bayrock, had offices in Trump Towers and worked to build Trump Tower buildings in major cities. Shortly after leaving Trump Towers, Sater then moved to the Trump Organization offices where he was issued a business cared that identified him as a “senior adviser” to Trump.
The four projects involved in this alleged scheme were organized as partnerships. Partnerships aren’t taxed because the profits are supposed to simply go to the partners. The partners would then report the income on their personal taxes. Sater and the others involved in this suit simply didn’t report the income they received from these projects.
One of the court documents that was released was a flow chart which explained how the scheme supposedly worked.
While not directly related to this incident, the Republican Party’s nominee has refused to release any of his tax returns. This is not a legal requirement for any presidential candidate, but it has been tradition going as far back as Richard Nixon. The GOP nominee claims he won’t release the returns from 2012 or beyond because they are still being audited. A former commissioner for the IRS, Mark Evans, has said an ongoing audit is not a reason for him to deny releasing his tax returns.
As we mentioned above, Trump is not currently facing any charges and is merely listed as a material witness, but it’s still a damaging blow to his brand and could cause problems for him as the campaign continues.